Latino History in Central Falls: How RI Latino Arts Encourages Community Through History

2:00 pm May 19, 2024

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset PIke, Lincoln, RI

Annual Meeting of the BVHS at 1:30 pm before the talk.

Marta V. Martinez will give the Christine Nowak Lecture at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society on May 19. This presentation will focus on how Rhode Island Latino Arts, through Nuestras Raíces,  the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island ( builds pride and stimulates civic activity among Latinos in Central Falls, through pláticas (collective conversations), oral history collection, barrios (neighborhood) tours and historical research. 

    We are excited to welcome Martinez, who is the founder and executive director of Rhode Island Latino Arts, founder of Nuestras Raices, and adjunct professor at Providence College. Her book, Latino History in Rhode Island: Nuestras Raices, was the basis for “La Broa”  (Broad Street) a play recently performed at Trinity Repertory Company

The Murals of McCoy Stadium

Presentation by Andy Tuetken.

2:00 pm, Sunday, April 21, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI .

Andy Tuetken, author of the Murals of McCoy will give a presentation on the murals and his book on Sunday, April 21 at BVHS.

Andy Tuetken loved to attend games in McCoy Stadium when he was growing up, and part of the experience was seeing the murals of famous baseball players on the walls of the stadium.  The 95 murals of McCoy featured players who played in the PawSox, and made it to major league baseball, like Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Wade Boggs.

The murals were commissioned in 1977 by Ben Mondor, the former owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Former RISD student Carol “Teyo” Heuser painted the original murals directly on the concourse walls. They were replaced by 4-foot by 8-foot hand-painted murals in 1990. The murals were removed in 1999 during renovations to the stadium, but were eventually put back at popular request with 45 digital replicas. An additional 41 digital photographs were added to the concourse walls.  Many of these were taken by Pawtucket Red Sox team photographer Louriann Mardo-Zayat.  The total would eventually grow to 95 murals. .

When it was announced that the Pawtucket Red Sox were officially moving, Tuetken wanted to know what was going to happen to the murals when the stadium closed.  He began researching the murals and the Sox, and after nearly three years of work, wrote the Murals of McCoy with the assistance of Carolyn Couto, who designed this beautiful coffee table book.

Some of the murals were recently auctioned off.  See this Valley Breeze article by Ethan Shorey.

Tuetken, a lifelong Pawtucket Red Sox fan and public school history teacher, also sees the book as a way to give back to the City of Pawtucket for all it has done for the baseball community in the state of Rhode Island.  All profits from the book are donated to Pawtucket Youth baseball.

Nancy Drew

Presentation: Alicia Mello, Nancy Drew, 2:00 pm, March 10, 2024

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset PIke, Lincoln, RI

The Secret of the Old Clock, Nancy Drew Mysteries
Nancy Drew, Cover art by Bill Gillies, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Come learn about the history of the beloved sleuth Nancy Drew! At this presentation, you will learn about the many different editions that have been printed since the Nancy Drew series was first published in the 1930s, as well as surprising facts about the series. The presenter, Alicia Mello, is a passionate collector and expert on Nancy Drew.  

Bring your Nancy Drew books and your memories to share with the group.  Mello will be able to tell you about your book and also its potential value. She has been collecting Nancy Drew books and other items for 20 years and loves to talk about the history of Nancy Drew!  She will bring some interesting pieces from her collection.  All welcome, and all ages are welcome. Donations appreciated.

Author’s talk: Meet Me at the Biltmore

Talk: 2:00 – 4:00 pm Sunday, January 21

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI

Author Amanda Quay Blount will give a talk about her extensively researched book Meet Me at the Biltmore.

On June 6, 1922, thousands of people  gathered in downtown Providence to witness the grand  opening of the most modern hotel of its day: the awe inspiring Providence Biltmore Hotel. Since that fateful  day, the Biltmore has captured the imaginations of local  patrons and distant travelers alike, providing luxury  accommodation to such celebrities as Babe Ruth, John F.  Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Louis Armstrong, the Von  Trapp Family, Maya Angelou, the Rolling Stones, and  Providence’s infamous mayor, Buddy Cianci. The story of  the Biltmore is a sensational drama of scandal, secrets  and high society. With characters ranging from crooked  politicians and mobsters to bootleggers and Hollywood  stars, the Biltmore has provided the backdrop for some  of the highest highs and lowest lows of Providence in the  last century.  

Now, for the first time in its hundred-year history, the storied past of the Providence Biltmore Hotel comes to life in this meticulously researched tale of the rise, fall, and renaissance of Rhode Island’s capital city, as seen through the eyes of one of its most iconic landmarks.

Amanda Quay Blount

The Train Wreck that Changed Time

Exhibit: 2:00 – 4:00 pm Sunday, November 19

Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI

On August 12, 1853, a terrible train wreck took place in Valley Falls.  Thirteen people were killed and around 40 wounded.  It is believed to be the first train wreck every photographed. The photograph “went viral” in illustrated newspapers of the day, and the event initiated reforms that led to the creation of standard time and time zones in the United States.

BVHS will have an exhibit on the train wreck and its aftermath. Francine Jackson will give a presentation at 2:30 pm.

The ledger showing the insurance payments made to the victims and their families will be on display.

Run of the Mill Productions: Ann & Hope

Sunday, October 15, 2:00 pm BVHS 1873 Old Louisquissett Pike, Lincoln, RI

Dave Lawlor from Run of the Mill Productions will give a premiere of Run of the Mill’s Ann & Hope.

In March, 2020, when the historic Conant Thread Mill burned, Dave Lawlor found a mission. Run of the Mill was created to document historic buildings and homes that may become lost to time.

They have partnered with the National Park Service, RI Housing and Pawtucket Central Falls Development in this mission. They are also dedicated to capturing and sharing the stories of new sites that are being built . They use cutting-edge drone photography as well as traditional photography technology in their work. Learn more

Great Road Open House Day

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.


On Saturday, September 23rd, the annual Great Road Day offers visitors the opportunity to discover some of Lincoln’s earliest history along one of the country’s oldest highways through some of the state’s finest historic treasures. Twelve sites spanning 300 years are available to visitors with free admission between 11 am- 4 pm.

This popular Open House features the stories of life in the early days of this community, including farm, industry, home, and school, all through the authentic sites open during Great Road Day, which include: Hearthside House (c.1810), Historic New England’s Arnold House (c.1693), Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (c.1880), Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse (c.1850), Moffett Mill (c.1812), Chase Farm Park (c.1867), Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse (c.1703), Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge (c.1804), Northgate, home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society (c.1807), and the Arnold Bakery (c.1874). In addition, two private homes will participate in this event: the Butterfly Mill (c.1812) and the Valentine Whitman House (c. 1696). These homes will not be open to the public, but their stories will be told onsite and where the architecture will be featured.

Two 17th century houses, known as stone-ender houses because of a massive chimney end wall, still stand along Great Road. Historic New England’s Arnold House at 487 Great Road, was home to the original town’s settlers, the Arnolds. The Valentine Whitman House at 1147 Great Road was the site of the first town meeting for Smithfield, before Lincoln was formed. At one time, it served as a home for workers in the booming lime industry in the village of Lime Rock. It has
recently been restored and is now a private home. Visitors will be welcomed outdoors to learn more about the architecture and early history of the house.

An 18th century site, the Saylesville Friends Meetinghouse, is one of the oldest continuously-used Quaker meetinghouses in New England. It has been meticulously preserved and appears much as it did when families gathered here on Sundays some 300 years ago. Headstones of those early settlers are located on the grounds. It is located at 374 Great Road. The Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park includes several historic buildings, and docents in period attire help to bring history to life. A recently-installed artist pen and ink mural gives a birds-eye view of Great Road in the 19th century and helps to pull the story together. The Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, at the entrance to the Park, will fascinate visitors as
they watch the magic of metal be hand forged into useful implements. At the Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse on the grounds of the Park, visitors will be greeted by Revolutionary War reenactors set up in an encampment there. Step inside Lincoln’s last one-room school and learn how this charming school got the name “Hot Potato School”. Sit at antique desks and imagine what it was like for children who learned their lessons here 150 years ago.

Pick up the shuttle van at the parking lot at Chase Farm to take a tour of the Moffett Mill, a rare survivor of the early Industrial era. It closed around 1900, and is “frozen in time,” with all its original tools and the belt system used to operate the equipment still in place. It produced machine parts, carriages, and shoelaces during the Civil War. Because of its location along the busy curve of the roadway below Chase Farm, the only access to the Mill will be by the shuttle van. Restrooms are located at the Visitors Center at Chase Farm Park, 671 Great Road.

The 85 acres of the picturesque historic former Chase Farm, Lincoln’s last operating dairy farm, beyond the historic buildings offers the public a chance to enjoy the beauty and tranquility in this unspoiled landscape. The rolling meadows and open fields are ideal to enjoy the unspoiled rural landscape. For the more adventuresome who like to hike and have the extra time, there is a mile-long trail from Chase Farm Park to the Arnold House.

The striking stone mansion near the base of Breakneck Hill Road with its curved roofline and full height front columns, Hearthside, welcomes visitors to the first floor of the fully-furnished and restored home. It is now an award-winning museum. Volunteers outfitted from a range of eras add to the experience of traveling back in time. Hearthside was home to 11 different owners over a 200-year history, until the town of Lincoln purchased it in 1996. Watch one of the docents demonstrate how laundry was done outdoors during the 19th century before washing machines
were invented. Another demonstration features special guest Steve Emma as he demonstrates the skill of chair caning, a traditional craft that is most often used to repair antique chairs with caned seats. Hearthside is located at 677 Great Road.

Built by Stephen Hopkins Smith at the time he was having Hearthside constructed, the Butterfly Mill is best known for the butterfly shape in the stonework of the chimney of this home. The mill had a long history of a variety of uses until it became a private home in the 1950s. A visit inside the old Mill section of the site gives visitors a chance to learn about its early history and the preservation efforts being undertaken by residents of these unique homes on Great Road.

Further up Great Road into Lime Rock is one of the earliest Masonic lodges in the state, the Mt. Moriah Lodge, where the most notable early town residents were members, provides public viewing just one day a year, which is on Great Road Day. The first structure on this site was a one-room schoolhouse, but in 1804 local Masons established a new Lodge here. The Lodge continues to meet here regularly. It is located at 1093 Great Road.

Northgate, home of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, was originally built as a tollgate for the busy Louisquisset Turnpike, a faster and straighter northern route than Great Road. Over the years, the building also served as the Grange for local farm families to gather and socialize. The Historical Society is having an exhibit about the history of the toll house. Adjacent to Northgate is the Arnold Bakery. This one-story, one room bakery was relocated to its current spot, and now has many artifacts from the original bakery to tell its story. This Lincoln business existed nearly 100 years and began in this tiny workshop owned by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jenks Arnold in Lonsdale, but the success of the business resulted in a larger bakery being built in the village of Saylesville. Both Northgate and the Arnold Bakery are located at 1873 Louisquisset Pike.

Start in Lime Rock and work your way to Saylesville, or start in Saylesville and end in Lime Rock. There is no order to this self-guided tour. Visitors are invited to customize their own itinerary and their own pace, visiting all 12 sites, or just a select few. The sites open at 11 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Parking is limited at some sites. Arnold House and the Friends Meetinghouse parking is available at Gateway Park. Hearthside parking is across from it, or at Chase Farm Park. There
is no parking at the Moffett Mill and is only accessible by the shuttle van picked up at the parking lot at Chase Farm or Hearthside. A map to the various sites that are open will be provided at each site.

Great Road was built in 1683 as the major thoroughfare on the west side of the Blackstone River. It got its name because it was so much more substantial than other routes through the valley. With historic houses, farms and mills, the nationally-designated Great Road Historic District in Lincoln retains much of the Blackstone Valley’s early 19th century rural character.

Great Road Day is a collaboration among the several participating historic sites, the majority of which are volunteer-run organizations.

For more information, go to or call 726-0597.

Learn About Upcoming Back-to-Back Solar Eclipses

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 13, BVHS, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln

Within the next few months, the U.S. will have two solar eclipses within its boundaries: an annular solar eclipse in October and a total eclipse next April. Al-though their paths will not pass through the Blackstone Valley, the sun will be partially blocked here during both.

     The annular solar eclipse will take place on Saturday, October 14. The 2024 total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, April 8. The path of the total eclipse will arc north of Rhode Island in New England, and will be fully visible in parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

     On September 13, BVHS Board Member and astronomer Francine Jackson of Lincoln will explain how and why eclipses occur and what to do during them. This set of eclipses is very important, as there will not be another occurring in the country for over two decades.

     Solar eclipses are one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena. Astronomers, both professional and amateur, often travel around the world to witness them. On occasion eclipses have played an important part in history. Come learn how they have caused changes in both the scientific and political worlds. In addition, Jackson will describe sites  in Rhode Island where you can be with others who enjoy safely watching the sun be partially blocked during the eclipse. She will also share sites where the eclipses will be live-streamed.

This image of the moon crossing in front of the sun was captured on Jan. 30, 2014, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observing an eclipse from its vantage point in space. Credits: NASA.

11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, September 23: Great Road Open House Day: Many of the historic properties on Great Road, including the Saylesville Friends Meeting House, the Eleazer Arnold House, and Hearthside House will be open at no charge. Northgate and the Bakery will be open. .

Slater Mill to Slatersville

May 21, 2023, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisett Pike, Lincoln, RI.

1:30 pm: Annual Meeting of the BVHS.

2:00 pm: Christine Nowak Lecture by Kevin Klyberg, Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park

Slater Mill to Slatersville

Kevin Klyberg is the Director of Interpretation and Education for Roger Williams National Memorial and Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. He grew up in Lincoln along the banks of the Blackstone Canal, and has been interpreting the Blackstone Valley with the National Park Service since 1996.

 The lecture will be about the development of Slater Mill and the establishment of the mill village of Slatersville by the Slater family.  These events served as a launching point for mill villages throughout the Blackstone Valley.

All are welcome.

Jim Bailey Returns to BVHS on April 16

2:00 p.m, April 16, Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI, 02865

Rhode Islander Jim Bailey will be returning to the Blackstone Valley Historical Society (BVHS) for a double feature at 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 16, 2023. He will provide a brief update of his presentation to the BVHS last year concerning the ongoing recovery of 17th Arabian silver coins in New England and their connection to the infamous voyage of Captain Henry Every of the pirate ship Fancy. Additional coin discoveries and some of his latest research findings will be discussed.

The main feature of his presentation recounts his experiences in finding the site of a long-vanished country estate in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The estate belonged to Metcalf Bowler, one of the wealthiest men in Rhode Island on the eve of the Revolutionary War. While the site produced a number of exciting artifacts dating back to the 18th century, the history behind the artifacts proved to be far more significant. Over 240 years later, it’s hard to contemplate the magnitude of the decision that all Rhode Islanders had to face sooner or later: remain a loyal subject of England and join the fight for independence? We’ll look at one man’s decision. 


Jim Bailey is a lifelong Rhode Islander from Warwick. He is happily married and has one daughter, one son, two dogs, and too much to do. His discoveries into the unknown history of Henry Every’s infamous pirating career is under development for a book and a docuseries film project.